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Classic Metal Inspired Euro Power - 75%

wakemeup36, July 16th, 2010

I was looking at random Youtube videos and came along the Arthemis song Angels In Black. I found the song really terrible and decided to get this album just to give the whole thing a good bashing. Boy, was I disappointed. Now, I've heard quite a few European power metal acts over the years. You know the ones. Keyboard driven, flowery, epic cheesefests (not necessarily a bad thing). There are a definitely a few Euro bands that defy these conventions, including Morgana Lefay, Dark At Dawn and Arch Nemesis. Now, I can safely add this band to the list as well.

Now, as I mentioned before, Angels In Black is a terrible track. It reeks of the mainstream pop rock mediocrity we hear on the radio everyday. No wonder they decided to make a music video for it. Bland riffs, unnoticeable drumming, forgettable melodies and soft, 'sensitive' singing is what I'm talking about. However, the rest of the album sounds nothing like it.

The riffage is very tight. Really intense and a lot of the parts could be mistaken for thrash metal. Most of the riffs have a really classic 70s/early 80s metal vibe to them, but due to the modern, slick production they actually sound more effective. For example, Escape has riffs which you'd expect from Judas Priest or Saxon. The intro riff for Zombie Eater just screams Black Sabbath. Some weird, 'scratchy' effects are used quite commonly throughout the album. The guitar melodies are great and catchy. They accompany the vocal melodies at various occasions, particularly in Black Society. The solos are straightforward, energetic, bluesy and fast for the most part but also have their melodic moments. The drumming is rather solid. The beats, fills and double bass all usually flow quite well with the songs.

The vocals are rather the typical Euro PM fare. High pitched and melodic most of the time. In some tracks however, like Mechanical Plague, the vocalist does experiment with harsh vocals a little bit. Most of the choruses are very catchy, mainly because of the memorable vocal lines. The backing vocals consist of chanting and some singing. This can be a problem as the backing singing, and sometimes the chanting can be mildly annoying. The bass is not audible at all, at any point of the album. A shame, a few interesting bass parts could've done wonders for the album.

The title track has a somewhat dark feel to it. But other than that, all the songs are uplifting and happy, but still quite intense. The album starts getting monotonous towards the end unfortunately, and the song structures are kind of generic. Nevertheless, this is one of the heavier and ballsier Euro power albums I've heard. Not amazing, but still quite impressive.

Competent, melodic firecracker of an album, fun! - 78%

Empyreal, November 30th, 2008

Arthemis are a long-standing Power Metal band from Italy who don't sound anything like what you'd usually expect from the country. For one, they've got sense, not over-loading their songs with wank or over-blown symphonic tendencies, and not trying to be any more complex than they have to. For another, their style is quite unique as compared to their contemporaries as they peddle out a grounded, almost hard rock-based form of Power Metal with sharp, concise melodies and punchy hooks galore, with the combination of the crunchy, snappy rock guitars and the high, melodic voice of Alessio Garavello being a winning one.

The songs here are mostly of a uniform length, and they all conform to the formula of driving riffs, upbeat melodies, kicking drum beats and choruses so catchy they'll make your blood boil. Perhaps the biggest surprise comes with the seven minute title track, which is...well, it's still pretty much the same as the shorter songs, funnily enough. The album's only real flaw is that the opening track "Fright Train" is the best song on this thing, with just about the stickiest hook I've heard all year, and you will still be singing the chorus to that one when you're trying to rock out to the rest of the songs - which contain some gems too with the bouncy "Electri-Fire" and the stirring "Escape" being the highlights of the pack.

I like this album a lot, actually, and it's nice to see a long-standing band pump out material that is both enjoyable and original as compared to the rest of the dreck being churned out right now. Arthemis were aiming to get you singing along and pumping your fist to this album, and I'll be damned if they didn't succeed. This album has pretty crappy cover art, but the band busts out a nice set of rocking tunes to exercise or jam out to, so pick Black Society up soon if it sounds like your thing.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com